The e-commerce calendar has some predictable periods of high traffic, like Christmas, but events sometimes happen unexpectedly to produce a surprise rush of site visits and sales. A side effect of the current global situation is the rather sudden spike in online commerce due to the severe restrictions placed on conventional shopping. Near-universal access to smartphones and a public accustomed to online shopping have made the transition from physical to virtual nearly seamless.
This rise in site traffic during what we all hope is a temporary situation will shape the future of e-commerce even after it’s resolved as a result of millions of consumers deciding to stay with the comfort and conveniences of online shopping. It’s also an opportunity—again, hopefully, a short-term one—to implement changes and practices that will result in long-term benefits to any e-commerce operation and their customers.
Below, we have listed some suggestions for converting the unexpected rush of attention and turning anonymous traffic into loyal customers.
At Synerise we have recently seen significant increases in e-commerce traffic among our clients. It’s clear that these higher traffic volumes are a result of the transition away from conventional offline shopping due to current circumstances. The first concern associated with the dramatic rise is of course meeting current needs in terms of staffing, inventory, shipping capabilities and meeting customer expectations.
However, the current rush can also be viewed in terms of a kind of stress test for many operations, a time to find out what works, what doesn’t and to optimize operations for the longer term. The conclusions to be drawn can benefit everyone involved if you know what to look for.
We know it can be hard to find the time during the current chaos but keep an eye on these aspects of your e-commerce operation for insights into opportunities to make the small changes that bring big results.
What has changed recently compared to previous online purchases
We all support the concept of social distancing and working remotely. There are more and more people who prefer to meet, educate themselves and shop online.
That is why the whole e-commerce industry needs to react to those needs.
The biggest players on the market quickly discovered that:
- Customers may be stressed, not knowing how long the need to stay at home will last - Free delivery encourages customers to make purchases. Some of them have made even more far-reaching and responsible decisions that make life easier for customers and couriers. They have implemented innovations throughout the delivery approval process that allow us to limit human contact. For example, you can provide an option for packages to be left by a door. Also, deliveries can be made using parcel machines. Messages regarding this form of shipping can be clicked on our system using the Dynamic Content section.
Also, try to slightly change the content tone of your messaging: "Free shipping" sounds great but add a thank you for the customer’s patience and forbearance along with information that the delivery may take a little longer than usual. This will also have a positive impact on customer satisfaction (they will feel informed in advance) regarding potential difficulties and delays while helping your service communication department avoid getting overwhelmed with questions about delivery times.
- Customers are using available technology to try to be productive and they expect online shops to use technology to ease their purchasing journey.
Let's try to meet these needs - the fast development of marketing and web technologies provides plenty of tools that can be used to make the most of customers turning to online stores as a way to protect themselves and their families.
Actions you can take to keep your customers satisfied
There are several relatively simple steps to take to help you to stay connected with existing clients and keep new visitors engaged.
We have divided them into 3 subgroups, thanks to which you will be able to look after potential buyers at every stage of the customer journey:
1. Don’t let your visitors remain unrecognized
Be well prepared to warmly welcome new customers: collect all signals from all channels and devices. Remember to gather data concerning history information about anonymous traffic.
Show interest by taking advantage of the opportunities offered by recommendations and other forms of personalization (even for anonymous users). Track every step that the users make on your website.
Use knowledge of earlier customer behavior and give suitable support, which covers proactive client communication concerning any issues they may have: run surveys, encourage the shopping community to contact you, use chat or implement pop-ups asking to check what customers may need.
2. Help your customer by walking them through your offer
Recognize your visitors and identify their expectations. Use gathered interactions to tailor the offer to their interests and needs. Also, focus on personalizing all messages and offers so that your clients feel that you take good care of them.
Concentrate on serving your customers through digital channels. To achieve this you can take the following actions:
- React immediately and automate processes of the communication;
- Prepare the most relevant message, identify the right context;
- Offer email and chat support.
3. Use the opportunity to take the best care of your customers
Make customer service as convenient and easy as it can be.
This also means increasing your social media presence and reminding your customers via emails, chat and mobile application that they can shop for their favorite items on your website.
Take advantage of various promotions on the site (e.g. add a weekly discount for the whole week -x% off everything). Additionally, make sure everyone knows about your promotions! You can also increase the reach of your ads (FB, Google).
Live stream selling can be used to show what’s being bought or browsed in real time. This kind of social proof is engaging and communicates a positive image of traffic on your site.
Optimizing the loading time of your site is critical. Anything beyond a few seconds risks losing customer to competitors. Use Google Speed Insights for tips on ways to cut fractions of seconds in a number of different ways.
Of course, these are just some of the tactics that need to be done in order to dispel consumer doubts and improve the entire online sales system.
We are aware of the fact that it is relatively difficult to improve strictly technical things remotely without involving the IT department; however, if you are not sure how to implement the features mentioned on your own - contact us. We’re always happy to help you.
For more information check out our Use Case section.